Dallas Cowboys

LB Jaylon Smith on field with Cowboys as his rehab continues

Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith (54) continues his rehab in the team’s offseason program.
Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith (54) continues his rehab in the team’s offseason program. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Jaylon Smith continues to make progress while participating in Phase 2 of the Cowboys’ offseason program.

“It seemed like he handled the work well last week, and he’s just done an amazing job right from the start with his rehab taking it day by day, making progress and we’ll continue to do that,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Sunday during the team’s 13th annual Taste of the NFL to tackle childhood hunger. “If he takes that approach, that’s when he’s going to have his most success. That’s what he’s done up to this point.”

Smith can take part in the Cowboys’ rookie minicamp next weekend since he missed all of last season while rehabbing. However, Garrett said the Cowboys won’t overwork Smith, so the linebacker won’t be on the field with the rookies.

“He’s going to do the veteran stuff on the field on Tuesday and Thursday, so I don’t anticipate him doing a lot on the field over the weekend,” Garrett said. “But he’ll go through the meetings and the walk-throughs [during the three-day minicamp].”

Smith continues to wear a brace on his left foot for drop foot, but the Cowboys express optimism Smith will return to the field this season.

Smith tore his the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee during Notre Dame’s bowl game Jan. 1, 2016. Damage to the peroneal nerve was more problematic.

But the Cowboys trusted Dr. Dan Cooper, their team physician who performed the surgery on Smith, and drafted Smith in the second round with the intent to use his rookie season as a redshirt. Cooper gave a 9- to 15-month timeline for the nerve to fully recover.